I’ve never been a fan of tablet PCs. I have an old Android tablet that I occasionally use to watch Netflix and read eBooks, but when I want to interact with a computer, I typically want the convenience of a proper keyboard and the precision of a mouse or large track pad.
With that said, this year at the Winter SWL Fest, I was co-host of a forum called: “Time Travel, Teleportation & Spectrum Hoarding for the Contemporary DXer.” My good friend and co-host, Mark Fahey brought his Windows tablet PC and we used it to demonstrate how easily and effectively SDRs can be taken to the field and spectrum recordings can be reviewed practically anywhere. Indeed, Mark tunes through his spectrum recordings while taking the train to work! (How cool is that!?!)
This week, I reviewed a guest post about portable SDRs by London Shortwave; afterward, I decided that I must begin the search for a Windows tablet. Since I would only use this tablet for portable SDR work, I really want to keep it as affordable as possible ($200 US or less).
It appears to me that there are a few things that you must overcome in a portable SDR package including: mitigating internal noise produced by the tablet and accessories, and the ability to power the tablet and the SDR at the same time.
Windows Tablet Wishlist:
- Inexpensive (less than $200)
- Enough speed and memory to run SDR applications and record spectrum to an internal SD card or external portable drive
- Separate USB and power ports or the ability to power both the tablet and SDR at the same time
My choices so far:
Readers: Your recommendations and advice are most welcome! Please comment especially if you have experience using tablet/SDR combos.